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Predators primed for Game 7 against Ducks

Laviolette on opportunity to advance: 'Our guys should be excited'

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators are preparing to play in a Game 7 for the first time in their Stanley Cup Playoff history against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN, FS-TN, FS-W) to decide their Western Conference First Round series.

The Predators have six players who have competed in a Game 7; many of the Ducks played in Game 7 of the 2015 Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Predators believe the pressure is on the Ducks, who have lost a Game 7 at home in each of their past three playoffs.

"I think the pressure has been on them the whole series," Predators forward James Neal said. "Everyone picked them to win. We know what kind of team we have here in Nashville. We did everything all year to push ourselves to this point. Why not win one more game?"

Predators coach Peter Laviolette has plenty of Game 7 experience. He is 4-1 in his coaching career in those situations and wants his team to embrace the challenge and use what they learned in a 3-1 win facing elimination in Game 6.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm6: Weber seals win with empty-netter

"Our guys should be excited," Laviolette said. "Our Game 7 really is no different than our Game 6. If we didn't win [Monday], then we were done. I think we've got that going for us. We've already taken on an elimination game as a young group and found success."

The series has been a bit of a roller coaster for the Predators. They won the first two games in Anaheim, and the Ducks responded by winning the next three before the Predators' Game 6 win at home Monday.

Nashville thinks it has done a good job of keeping its emotions in check throughout the series.

"It's been up and down," defenseman Barret Jackman said. "I thought our team's done a tremendous job of just kind of staying even-keel. We're going to go in with nothing to lose and just leave everything on the line." 

The Predators are excited for the challenge and the opportunity to advance to the Western Conference Second Round for the third time.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm6: Rinne stops Horcoff's slap shot

"It's just the preparation," goaltender Pekka Rinne said. "I think the mindset is a little bit different. Just facing Game 7, you know what it means and what's at stake. But other than that, it doesn't change anything. You still prepare for one game, one win, and it's the same situation for both teams.

"To be going to Anaheim, they have their home crowd, but I feel like we've been playing really well in their building. Just really excited about this one."

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